Sunday, June 01, 2008

BUS STORY # 85, Part 2 (The DVD)

So: the next day I ride the bus, I board, then stop under the screen and look up. The screen is still black. I ask the driver what the story is. What story, he wants to know. I tell him I’ve heard the city was supposed to have started running a DVD on the 700s. He says it’s the first he’s heard of it.

I plan to ask again on the way home, but my bus is one of the 300s this time. I wait for the next day.

The next day I go down and wait for the bus. It’s a 300 again. So is the one going home.

The following Monday, a 700 arrives. I board, stop, look up. The screen is black. I ask the driver if he knows anything about the DVD. He’s heard about it, but not when it’s supposed to start running.

I ask him what’s on it. He doesn’t know for sure, but he’s heard it’s mostly ABQ RIDE material – promotions, schedule changes, the jingles, and so forth.

“So there’s gonna be sound?

“I think so, yeah.”

“So it’s just gonna be ABQ RIDE stuff, then?

“Well, it’s gonna be pretty much whatever the mayor wants to run on it.” He says this with a good-natured grin.

I try again on the ride home. “Don’t know nothin’ about it,” the driver tells me.

The screens stay dark for the rest of the week. Friday evening, I check the ABQ RIDE website when I get home. Nada.


700s and 300s: the scoop

The top photo features one of the new 700 series buses. These are manufactured by New Flyer. This particular model is the DE40LFR. (DE = hyrid diesel-electric; 40 = 40 footer; LFR = low floor. This is a “kneeling bus” which can lower itself to sidewalk level for wheelchair access.) ABQ RIDE began deploying this bus last autumn.

The second photo features one of the 300 series buses. These were manufactured by now-defunct Neoplan USA. This particular model is a Transliner AN440A (powered by compressed natural gas, also a 40 footer, and a high floor bus equipped with a wheelchair lift). As near as I can determine, this series was introduced to the Albuquerque fleet in 2001. [Correction: the year was 1996. Correction provided by New Flyer DE40LFR -- see comments below.]

Comments/additions/corrections welcome.


Blogger Amanda said...

Federal regulations and the need for improved fuel-economy are leading fleets around the US to turn to both Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) for some relief.

Most buses, especially school buses, run on diesel, which has toxic emissions as everyone knows. Based on the inherently cleaner-burning characteristics of Natural Gas, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calculated that LNG vehicles are far cleaner than diesel.

In Utah, some residents are filling up their cars with Natural Gas at $.63/gallon. More people, especially truckers, need to know that we have a viable and domestically abundant solution to high gas prices that is available right now.

2:30 AM  
Blogger Busboy said...

You raise some interesting questions, amanda. Our new buses are diesel-electric hybrids. I’m wondering how much ABQ RIDE is now spending on CNG vs. diesel fuel. I’m also wondering what the ratio is between the times the new buses are running on diesel vs. electricity.

6:26 AM  
Anonymous Pete said...

I heard the CNG buses are more costly to operate than the hybrids because their fuel economy is not nearly as good.

11:14 AM  
Blogger Busboy said...

Could be, Pete, but I'd really like to see some numbers. Also, part of Amanda's point is that natural gas (Well, liquified natural gas) is a cleaner burn than diesel. That's why I'd also like to know the percentages of diesel and electric use by the new hybrids.

11:21 AM  
Anonymous New Flyer DE40LFR said...

Here is a comparison of CNG vs. diesel-electric hybrids on New Flyer's website:

Also, the 300-series buses were delivered in 1996, not 2001. The 400-series were actually delivered in 2001.

4:49 PM  
Blogger Busboy said...

This is outstanding information, de40lfr. Thank you! From the website: "The electronic control unit blends power from the two energy sources, whether electric (low speed), diesel (highway speed) or a combination, reducing emissions . . . " I assume from this that the only time our hybrids are really using diesel is when they're on the interstates coming to and from their routes. Impressive.

I'll correct the dates for the 300s and credit you for the information. Thanks very much for posting this.

9:47 PM  

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